Food: The Language Of Love
I've written before about food as the language of love, but really, food is the language of love.
In Tibet, this certainly seems to be the case. I know it because I myself cannot communicate much with my Tibetan in-laws, but there's a whole lot of love there. It is expressed through the food that we cook and eat together. Enjoyment of a meal is everything - what more needs to be said?
In fact, speaking during a meal is considered rude in Tibet. When food has taken time to prepare (and given that everything is always cooked from scratch this is usually the case), it shows respect to the chef to savour it silently, taking time, enjoying each mouthful.
My Tibetan is pretty poor, and visiting Yeshi's family in Tibet, conversation is necessarily limited. It's always everyone's first question when we are back from a trip: how do I communicate with my relatives there? To me, it's more interesting that Yeshi, even with all the language at his disposal, doesn't do a lot of talking with his family either. When he does, food forms a large part of what is discussed.
Talking about food, preparing vegetables and meat, and sharing a meal forms a big part of the Tibetan day. When there are no shops around the corner it takes some organisation to make a meal happen. These things must be planned, discussed, and executed. Mealtimes become the focus of the day.
And when you haven't seen your family for near on 20 years, what do you talk about anyway? Food is always the best place to start. Everything else is meaningless really - just details of time spent that neither side can really relate to. Food always brings you into the moment, which is all we have, right?